Monday, November 5, 2007

And a happy Guy Fawkes Night to you

Every year, on the evening of 5 November, the good citizens of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador celebrate what is known as Guy Fawkes Night (also Bonfire Night).

Celebrated to commemorate the failure of a plot by English Catholics to assassinate King James I, the tradition is to light bonfires and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, one of the plots central conspirators. If you've seen or read "V for Vendetta," you may already be somewhat familiar with this little slice of history. It may be of interest to note that the use of the word "guy" to mean any ol' bloke comes from this tradition, having first been the name of the person, then the name of the oddly dressed effigies, and finally a way of referring to any man.

I'm somewhat amused that this continues to be a celebrated holiday, seeing as the thing happened back in 1605 and, I'd like to think, relations between Protestants and Catholics in the UK have improved somewhat since then. Still, I'm all for any excuse to light (safe, contained) bonfires and celebrate.

Fried cheese!On an unrelated note, I made a point to head down to the square this last Saturday to partake of the final outdoor farmer's market of the year. The fall colors were in full bloom, the sky was a beautiful shade of hard blue, and the smell of late autumn was in the air. I snapped a few pictures to commemorate the occasion, bought some of the delicious fried cheese ("juusto") from Brunkow's and did my best to enjoy what was likely one of the final fair-weather days of the year.

This weekend sees the return of the Madison Pop Festival, which Pitchfork was kind enough to write up on their website:

Andrew W.K. kicks off the festival on November 8 at UW's Great Hall. Then, November 9 brings showings of Daft Punk's Electroma and The Hip Hop Project as well as performances by Baby Teeth, Pale Young Gentlemen, Billy Harvey, La Bruja, Vid Libert, and Kazi. And finally, the November 10 events include a showing of Sigur Rós' Heima and performances by Bon Iver, Malajube, Murder by Death, the Selfish Gene, Common Loon, and Them, Roaringtwenties.
The festival is free, but even if it weren't it would still be worth checking out. I'll be there with bells on for some of it at least.

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